The employer and employee in an employment contract have their rights and responsibility.


6/3/20222 min read


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The employer and employee in an employment contract have their rights and responsibility. The employee has the following duties as discussed.

A. The Employee has the duty to obey

In the notable case of NWOBOSI V A.C.B. Ltd (1995) 6 N.W.L.R (pt 404) 658, the Appellant was employed by the respondent bank. He was dismissed summarily for disregarding the respondent’s express instruction on loans and advances. The Supreme Court held the sanction was not wrong. The employee is legally expected to discharge his duties in obedience to the reasonable and lawful order of his employer. Just as in the case, breach of this duty may lead to the penalty of summary dismissal.

B. The Employee has the duty to cooperate

The employee must discharge his contractual duties in a manner that promotes the object of his employment. However, this duty does not impose a positive obligation on an employee to do beyond his contractual agreement, it does. The major thing is for the employee to execute his contractual obligations so as not to willfully have adverse effect on the business of his employer. To engage in such adverse action will amount to a breach of contract.

C. The Employee has the implied duty not to misuse the employer’s confidential information

An employer’s confidential information like trade secret is regarded as part of his property which, like any other type of property is entitled to protection. It is for this reason that employers often include a clause in the contract of employment against disclosure of sensitive and confidential information. Such confidential information often includes marketing plans and business strategies, financial plans, industrial relation strategy or production formulae. In a situation where there is breach of a duty or obligation to protect trade secret, there are two most important remedies which include damages and the equitable remedy of injunction.

D. The Employee has the duty of fidelity

The employee’s duty of fidelity encapsulates that an employee should not knowingly; deliberately and secretly set himself to do in his spare-time, something which would inflict great harm on his employer’s business. While it is hackneyed that an employee owes his employer an implied duty of faithful service, the issue lies in giving a satisfying definition of the duty. Invariably, each case of breach of this duty largely depends on its facts.

E. The Employee has the duty of care

It is a trite principle at common law that an employee owes his employer a contractual duty to exercise reasonable care in the performance of his part of the contract of employment. Invariably, when an employee is negligent in the course of his employment, thereby resulting in damage to third party and his employer has been made vicariously liable for the resultant damage, the employer, can recover the damages which he has so far paid from the employee, on account of the employer’s breach of his contractual duty of care.

NB: This article is not a legal advice, and under no circumstance should you take it as such. All information provided are for general purpose only. For information, please contact chamanlawfirm@gmail.com


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